Grand Junction, CO

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Grand Junction is a city of about 67,000 residents located in western Colorado near the Utah border, and situated along Interstate 70. It is the largest city and county seat of Mesa County, CO. Prostitution and sex trafficking are well-documented local problems. This activity and its ancillary crimes have generated residential complaints to local law enforcement agencies. Illicit massage businesses and child sex trafficking are among the more serious crimes associated with the city’s commercial sex market. For example, in 2008, a well-known brothel, Fuji Oriental Massage, was seized and later auctioned by the IRS after investigators discovered that 43 people from 14 states had used their Discover credit cards to pay thousands of dollars for alleged prostitution services at the business. According to reports, Discover charges to the business totaled $15,712 between February 2003 and March 2008. The IRS’ forfeiture occurred after law enforcement determined that the property had been used in the commission of crime, for which the brothel owners and operators were also convicted. Local sex trafficking cases include a 2012 case in which 14 people were arrested for involvement in a human-trafficking ring that brought teenage girls to Grand Junction and other Colorado cities for sexual exploitation. The leaders were charged with trafficking of children, pimping of a child, and inducement of child prostitution. The four key traffickers allegedly recruited five girls, all under the age of 18, for sex trafficking purposes for a six-month period in 2012. According to the indictment, the victims were transported to hotel rooms in Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Denver, Boulder and Lakewood, given drugs and alcohol, and were sexually exploited in exchange for money. Eight additional people named in the indictment were charged with providing a place for the incidents of prostitution to occur and/or driving the girls to places where they were exploited. In addition to such evidence of prostitution, child sex trafficking, and rape of exploited minors, there has been at least one documented case of targeted homicide. In 2007, a Grand Junction woman was reported missing and three days later officials found her car in flames. Upon further investigation, police found that the woman had been operating four businesses, three of which were legitimate and the fourth which was an escort service in which she advertised through online ads. Police were able to use the online advertisement to track the responding sex buyer, who police determined to be the last person known to have seen her alive. After her remains were found in 2012, police had evidence that led to the sex buyer’s indictment and eventual conviction for first degree murder, felony murder, second-degree murder for knowingly causing her death, and kidnapping.

In their efforts to address such serious problems stemming from the local commercial sex market, the Grand Junction Police Department has employed various demand reduction tactics such as street-level and web-based reverse sting operations focused on apprehending sex buyers and sex traffickers in the area.

In October 2015, five men were arrested in Mesa County in a web-based reverse sting operation targeting online commercial sexual exploitation of children. In April 2019, law enforcement personnel arrested 10 individuals over three days in a multi-agency undercover operation targeting people seeking to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. The operation involved undercover officers posing online as youths offering to have sex, or adults arranging to sexually exploit their own children with other individuals. Police placed ads on sites including and While the ages listed were 19 as required by the sites, the ensuing conversations leading to several arrests involved discussions arranging to sexually exploit minors in exchange for money. Some of the conversations involved undercover personnel posing as mothers commercially sexually exploiting their ‘daughters’ online. Police worked with two hotels that agreed to partner on the operations, and some of the arrests were made on hotel premises after arrangements were made to meet suspects there. Six people were arrested for allegedly making such arrangements with undercover officers. Three were issued misdemeanor summonses for prostitution. One more person was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear, in connection with a recent arrest by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office involving an alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old victim. The man was also held on suspicion of violating a protection order by communicating with the victim. The names, ages, and charges associated with all of the arrested individuals were posted in news releases. Charges included soliciting for child prostitution, criminal attempt of sexual assault on a child;  soliciting for child prostitution, internet luring of a child with intent of sexual contact/exploitation; pandering a child; patronizing a prostituted child; drug possession and distribution; and weapons possession by a repeat offender. Collaborating on the operation were the Grand Junction Police Department, Palisade Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Mesa County District Attorney’s Office.

Not all arrests of sex buyers are the result of proactive reverse stings using fictional decoys, but instead are the result of investigations into allegations of offenses against real victims. Police have arrested several sex buyers in at least two of these types of investigations. For example, in 2014, police arrested a man on four charges, including patronizing a prostituted child, soliciting for child prostitution, pandering of a child, and sexual assault on a child. The man was arrested on allegations he arranged to pay $100 for access to sexually abuse a 14-year-old girl who was sex trafficking on Craigslist at a Clifton motel. His arrest was the result of a five-month-long investigation in coordination with the Fruita Police Department. While perhaps not traditional reverse sting operations, the investigations, arrests, and the release of identities of at least three sex buyers represents proactive attempts to hold at least some sex buyers accountable, and perhaps to deter others. In August 2021, the owner of a pawn shop was arrested and charged with multiple felonies, including theft charges, Pawnbroker Prohibited Acts, and soliciting prostitution. Rumors of illegal activity at the shop had circulated for years, but police had no evidence of wrongdoing. That changed when the Sheriff’s Office received multiple allegations that the pawn shop owner was soliciting prostitution from homeless women. Investigators placed the shop under surveillance and found that other illicit activities were occurring, leading to the execution of multiple search warrants. Upon executing the search warrants, suspicions of illegal activity were confirmed and the sex buyer was arrested and charged.

Loss of employment is also a consequence of buying sex in the city. For example, in 2014, a School District 51 employee was arrested during a web-based operation targeting individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors online. According to the affidavit, the offender responded to a decoy ad online and communicated with police posing as a 19 year-old prostituted woman. During their conversation, the undercover officer told the offender that she was not 19 years old, but was really a 14-year-old girl. The former District 51 employee continued to communicate with the undercover officer and exchanged photos. Upon arriving to the agreed upon location, the offender refused to enter the hotel room unless he received photos of her genitals. After the undercover officer refused, the offender left the hotel parking lot. Police surveillance at the predetermined location allowed officials to identify the sex buyer’s vehicle and arrested him at a traffic stop on charges including Sexual Assault- Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child (a class 4 Felony) and Internet Luring of a Child/Intent of Sexual Contact/Exploitation (a class 4 Felony). The offender, who had worked for District 51 for 22 years was placed on administrative leave, but later resigned from his position as a result of his arrest.

Key Sources

Web-Based Reverse Stings with Identity Disclosure:

Sex Buyer Arrests, Disclosure of Identities, Cameras:

Sex Buyer Fired and/or Resigned Due to Arrest, Cameras:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Documented Violence Against Individuals Engaged in Prostitution in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

  • “Online Sex Ads: Women or Girls?” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, June 24 2008.
  • “Fuji Massage Busted for Alleged Prostitution-Related Crimes,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, November 20 2008.
  • “Accused Grand Junction Pimp Made Thousands, Police Say,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, December 2 2008.
  • “DA: Fuji Johns Unlikely to Be Charged,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, December 3 2008.
  • “Grand Junction ‘Johns’ Leave Credit Card Trail,” Aspen Times, December 3 2008.
  • “Parlor Sting Months in the Making,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, December 6 2008.
  • “Case Stronger against Fuji Oriental Massage Owner, Prosecutors Say,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, December 26 2008.
  • “New Ordinance to Regulate Grand Junction’s Massage Parlors,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, February 4 2009.
  • “For Ex-Fuji Customers, It’s Call Cops or Be Called, Police Say They Have 1,000 People They Want to Talk To,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, May 5 2009.
  • “Man Guilty as Pimp for Ex-Fiancée’s Prostitution,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, July 8 2009.
  • “Man who Acted as Pimp for Girlfriend Gets Six Months in Jail, 10 Years’ Probation,” Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, September 1 2009.
State Colorado
Type City
Population 66964
Comments are closed.